The Wellington Phoenix were left to rue a missed penalty when they drew 0-0 with Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.
After a slow start the Phoenix gradually took control of the game and when they won a first-half penalty it seemed as if they would be on their way to a win that would take them to the top of the A-League ladder.
Surprisingly Nathan Burns, one of the leading scorers in the competition, hit the ball straight down the middle from the spot and Tando Velaphi made an easy save.
From then on it was end to end stuff, and while the Phoenix had the best of the goal-scoring chances City also had their share of opportunities.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick was pleased to see his team bounce back after two three-goal losses.
“We were playing a team that has been in good form recently,” Merrick said.
“Again we weren’t in the game for the first 10 minutes but once we got our passing game going we began to look dangerous.
“The penalty miss was disappointing but we kept at it and I am pretty happy to come away with a point and a good performance.”
Merrick admitted it was disappointing that the Phoenix hadn’t scored in their last three games but so long as they were creating chances he was confident the goals would come.
Asked about the importance of getting a home final Merrick said that would be good, especially for Phoenix fans.
“We will continue to play the same type of attacking football whether we are at home or on the road,” he said.
“But it would be great to play a home final in front of our faithful supporters.”
Wellington Phoenix: Glen Moss, Louis Fenton, Michael Boxall, Andrew Durante, Manny Muscat, Albert Riera, Alex Rodriguez (Vince Lia 78m), Roly Bonevacia (Kwabena Appiah 93m), Michael McGlinchey, Nathan Burns, Roy Krishna (Kenny Cunningham 73m).